Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Letter of the Day | Organise the entire country to fight crime

Published:Wednesday | June 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently spoke about the perilous situation in the country regarding crime and violence, and especially the association between police and dons, at the Jamaica Police Federation’s 76th Annual Joint Conference.

The prime minister said that some police are too friendly with dons and that “we know who the dons are”. He went on to say that the police have to be separated from the dons, who sometimes enjoy special privileges from their friends in the police force, and that must stop.

These remarks, however, brought responses from the large audience, such as “and the government”, meaning that leaders of government are also known or suspected to be associated with dons who benefit from this association, as some police officers do.

There is hardly anyone in Jamaica who would disagree with the prime minister’s statements on the issue, nor would there be any major disagreement that there must also be a clear separation of our politicians, at all levels, from the dons who the prime minister said are largely responsible for the current levels of organised crime, the use of guns, drug trafficking and the recruitment of more gang members.

It is necessary, therefore, for the prime minister and the government’s security team to ensure that the members of parliament, political leaders and parties are also separated from the dons to fight crime. If not, it could easily defeat the purpose, as they would have no credibility or moral authority to lead the process in the country.

This is really a follow-up to an invitation issued in 2018 to civil society members to join in preparing a crime plan for the country.

FIVE-POINT PLAN

We are repeating the still-relevant five-point summary which was sent to the prime minister’s office:

1. Organise the entire country to support and participate in a crime plan, exchanging vital public information and knowledge for our safety and use.

2. Get the agreement of political parties to work together to end violence, crime and corruption in all constituencies across the country.

3. Clean up, reorganise, retrain, plan and support the police, army, INDECOM, and other security organisations to combat crime systematically, using all the appropriate laws, and employing technological advances in helicopters, mobile police stations and other assets.

4. Clean up, reorganise and empower the court system to quickly and effectively implement anti-crime and anti-corruption measures, including jail sentences.

5. Clean up and reorganise the civil-service organisations (including the audit/PAC body, which is usually long after the offence has taken place) to work against criminal activity in the country, not assist it.

RICHARD CRAWFORD

richard.dickie.crawford@gmail.com